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Save the Jim West Mansion

Save the Jim West Mansion

Save the Jim West Mansion
June 01
16:49 2011

Save the Jim West Mansion

Conceived in 2003, Preserved in Time is a 501(C) (3) charity organization as designated by the United States Internal Revenue Service.  The purpose of this non-profit organization is to preserve and share unique properties and their history with the public for educational purposes.  Education and historic preservation are first and foremost.  Each property will be made accessible to local residents and national and international tourists.  Within each property there will be a museum that will educate the public about the property and its place in Texas and national history.  Student groups will be encouraged.  Planned activities will be used solely to restore and maintain the buildings, outbuildings, and properties.

Preserved in Time is currently focused on the acquisition and restoration of the Jim West Mansion in the Clear Lake area of Houston, Texas.  The old mansion is presently listed on the National Registry of Historic Places and is listed as a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark.  Although it holds two notable historic distinctions, it is also listed on the Greater Houston Preservation Alliance’s “Endangered Buildings List.”  Time is running out on the West Mansion.  Deed restrictions placed on it by Rice University and Exxon in 1992 protect it from demolition for another year.  The owner will be free to demolish it July 2012.

AnthonyLikeFun (YouTube) and his friend took a “backdoor tour of the mansion.”

James Marion West, Sr., began planning and constructing the stately Italian Renaissance mansion following a European family vacation in 1924.  Designed by prominent architect Joseph Finger, the 17,000 square foot structure was completed in 1930.  It took 3 years to complete at a cost of $250,000.00.  The mansion boasted 6 bedrooms, a sleeping porch, 12 bathrooms, a solarium, a mahogany paneled study, ballroom, huge dining room, music room, two-story living room and a private barbers room.  Rare Dresden work decorated some of the mantels.  It stood on a 30,000 acre ranch that stretched from what is now Ellington Field to what is now Toddville Road.  On Sundays motorists would drive slowly past the mansion to view its splendor.  Following Jim West’s death the family honored the wishes he had outlined in his will and vacated the property with a few belongings.  Vagrants and vandals ransacked the mansion during the 1940s and 1950s.  The furniture, furnishings, linens left on the beds and utensils left in the kitchens slowly disappeared.

Mr. West was born in Waynesboro, Mississippi in 1871.  His family relocated to Trinity County, Texas when he was 9 years old.  In later years he started on his road to fortune when he took on a partner and established a lumber mill in Westville, Texas.  He died in Kansas City during a business trip in 1941.  Prior to his death, Jim West had owned 8 lumber mills, produced oil, raised cattle, and purchased two newspapers.  He bought the Dallas Dispatch-Journal and changed the name to the Journal.  He also purchased the Austin Tribune.  Among many other civic duties, James Marion West was the 16th president of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association.

The Jim West Mansion by Noel Kerns

Some Photos Courtesy of: Sloane Gallery

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